The more you eat, the more you – errrrrrr, well – live a healthy and long life 🙂
I’ve known about the benefits of eating beans for a while and I actually love beans – unlike the Renegotiation (aka boyfriend). I’d gotten off the bean track, however, until I began reading Tim Ferris’ 4 Hour Body. He encourages beans at every meal and is pretty “in your face” and uncompromising about it.
I decided I wanted to know more about this little legume and asked my dear friend Lisa Acocella, DC, if she would answer a few questions for me. To learn more about Dr. Lisa, as her chiropractic, nutrition and blood chemistry clients call her, visit her site, DrLisaAcocella.com.
Joy@DancePlayHeal: Hi Dr. Lisa – thanks so much for taking time to chat with me today. You are, by far, my favorite guru when it comes to nutrition.
Dr. Lisa: It’s my pleasure and I will always make time to talk with you.
J@DPH: What IS the magic of beans?
DL: Beans are a superfood all by themselves and their benefits increase further when when eaten in conjunction with the other components of G-BOMBS (greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries and seeds).
J@DPH: What exactly makes beans a superfood?
DL: Beans are the healthiest carbohydrate source available and an excellent source of protein. Beans contain three types of fiber: soluble, insoluble and (newly discovered) resistant starch. Their exceptional nutritional profile makes them the best food source for stabilizing blood sugar, burning fat, and balancing hormones; and it also helps restore digestive health (gut health) so you get the best absorption of the vitamins and minerals from all the other foods you eat.
J@DPH: Wow! That’s amazing. What is a resistant starch? I haven’t heard that before.
DL: Here’s an example, you can eat a serving of beans, 1 cup – about 250 calories, and you feel completely satisfied, however your body only metabolizes 125 calories. Twice the calories, half the price 🙂
J@DPH: What about all that gas?
DL: When you eat beans and experience gas, it means your digestive tract is lacking in beneficial, healthy flora. Most guts aren’t in optimal health and consequently aren’t ready to process beans or a lot of plant food at one time. So, to enjoy beans without gas, incorporate them into your diet gradually; in the beginning, less is more. By incorporating beans into your diet slowly, you will allow your gut to grow the internal flora it needs to enjoy beans and plant food without discomfort. Start by eating one tablespoon of beans per day and, as you get more comfortable, build up to ½ a cup or 1 cup of beans daily to enjoy their benefits fully.
J@DPH: Should I take Beano until that happens?
DL: No, actually, while Beano or other digestive enzymes might help in the moment, they prevent the development of your digestive tract’s own ability to digest beans.
J@DPH: The Renegotiation just hates beans – the taste and the texture – what can others do who feel the same way?
DL: Lentils are a great alternative and in the same legume family.
J@DPH: Ah, yes, he hates those too.
DL: Ok well, there’s new science that shows if you try a food 16 times, you will begin to like it. So, that tablespoon of beans a day we talked about??? That’s a great start. Plus it’s cumulative. If you can’t bring yourself to eat beans every day, go for once a week for 16 weeks. Also, try different varieties – it’s better for you and you might find a couple of types you love.
J@DPH: This is awesome, Dr. Lisa, thank you. I learned so many things today. Any final thoughts about beans?
DL: Yes, when I say beans, I am speaking of beans, lentils and peas, which are all in the same legume family. Also, people often want to know what are the most nutritious beans to eat. The answer is black beans are the most nutritious, then red kidney beans, then red lentils. Think of color. The stronger the color of a bean, the more nutritious it is. Additionally, if anyone wants to learn even more about beans, they can go to NutritionFacts.org.
So, there you have the magical (musical) truth about beans – please share some of your favorite recipes [or funny bean stories] in the comments below. If you have more questions for Dr. Lisa, please feel free to email her at DrLisaAcocella@gmail.com.
big love and beany hugs,